An unmitigated failure. A non-binding agreement, with voluntarily contributions, means there is no agreement, there is no target, there is nothing except pretty words that give politicians something to latch onto, as though significant. About the only "success" one could point towards, the trillion dollar fund to help developing countries deal with international inaction. It all congeals into a global submission, more dealing with the after effects, than managing the source.
The news is worse for Canada. Not only did we fail to actively engage in Copenhagen, but we've gone a step further, ceding our national sovereignty, as well as fostering national disunity. In the absence of a national plan, this vacuum has been filled by provinces, creating a disjointed, friction filled environment that threatens to harm the federation. Premiers can snipe back and forth, but the responsibility for disccord rests with the federal Conservatives, who have failed to provide the most basic leadership, who have laid the foundation for fractured federalism. The situation stands to worsen, with our new policy of waiting for Washington, while we do essentially nothing. I suspect certain regions will plow ahead unilaterally, which means the chasm becomes that much more pronounced, as the years march on.
Step back and think about what Harper is saying. Canada will sit on the sidelines and wait for Washington to tell us our policy. Astounding. Maybe more amazing, the Conservatives seem to think that is entirely acceptable and "shrewd". Canada has no international role, it is merely a mirror of American policy, a policy nobody knows what form it will take or WHEN it will be delivered. At the earliest, it's a couple more years of nothingness, it's a complete unknown. Conservatives love to wave the flag, they strangely seize patriotism as their sole domain, yet they will now remain utterly silent in the face of this glaring contradiction.
Harper was right to point out that our abscence from the table in Copenhagen was over-stated, we had "strategic partners" protecting our interests. There was no need for him to negotiate, because we have nothing to offer, the Americans speak for Canada- it's that simple, admitted and actually said with bravado.
Internally, Harper is endorsing further erosion on the federalism front. Externally, he is ceding our national standing, as a way to neutralize an issue he's never wanted to deal with. Harper is essentially undermining Canada at home and abroad. The legacy this position will leave, could possibly be a historical watershed, it's not just about the environment, this inaction has secondary ramifications.
The world did squat, but somehow Canada managed to do worse. Quite a feat.